It should be noted that some believe that the execution on paper of an assignment of copyright to a Canadian entity will entitle it to block parallel imports in accordance with the Kraft decision. However, such a tactic may very well backfire if adequately resisted. Such an assignment may be subject to attack as a sham or an abuse of copyright and may trigger unwelcome and unexpected tax consequences. More about this in the future. For now, see my comment prepared for the Law Society of Upper Canada. For practical purposes, copyright law is not a very practical way to block parallel importation into Canada.
The US decision is important to Canada for many reasons – not least of which is the imminent debate on Bill C-56, the anti-counterfeiting legislation, which includes several sometimes inconsistent references to parallel imports that could possibly have unintended or unforeseen results. Also, there can be little doubt that the lobbyists have already begun to work on Congress and the USTR to “undo” a result that some of their clients will find very difficult to accept. Such a development is a threat to Canada and other countries involved in trade negotiations with the USA, unless the negotiators stand their ground.
Note the additional shades of grey added by the Kagan + Alito concurrence and the partial reservation of Scalia's concurrence with Ginsburg and Kennedy.
The Kirtsaeng decision gets very technical, as inevitably do all decisions on parallel imports if adequately briefed and reasoned. It goes into great depth based upon the interplay of key sections of the US legislation. But, in the end, it all boiled down to the common sense interpretation of five words: “lawfully made under this title”. In the end, the Court agreed with Kirtsaeng that this phrase was not subject to geographic limitation and applied to copies lawfully made abroad.